Something that non-performing day jobbers, or likewise non-day-jobbing performers, frequently fail to realize is just how darn hard it is to balance a full-time work schedule and an entire plate full of performing. Concerts and shows are late night affairs, meaning little sleep between the delirious last curtain call and the first cup of morning coffee. Practice sessions are squeezed in on lunch hours, or between work shifts. Preparing for auditions, or recording sessions, takes hours of concentrated effort, and this effort frequently is brought forth on the weekend, when the body begs for sleep. A working-class singer can feel like a zombie, floating through the day, doing a whole heck of a lot but accomplishing squat.
Tamika Nicole, however, cannot be counted among the walking day job dead.
A soulful singer with one album in the bag and more to surely follow, Tamika, aka Tamika Williams-Clark, is a time management queen. With an impressive education to backdrop her performing talents, it's no wonder that a woman who has earned a Masters degree in Education would know how to structure her day. She taught Algebra to middleschoolers, for heaven sakes!
Since making the decision to pursue a profesisonal singing career, Tamika has worked as, among other things, a sales and marketing analyst for an insurance company, a saleswoman at Dress Barn, an executive assistant to a "crazy person" and a corporate concierge for American Express. Her teaching career included stints as a dance teacher, summer school teacher, permanent substitute teacher and, her current, and final, gig: 6th Grade English and Language Arts summer school teacher. When fall arrives Tamika will be taking the plunge into full-time singing. "I told myself that this will be my last hoorah at teaching because I need to really just perform and write songs full time," says Tamika. "But because I am still registered as a substitute teacher with a couple of School districts, I will keep them as just-in-case job options."
A typical day for Tamika the summer school teacher includes waking up at 6am, scooting off to school for arrival at 7:45am, teaching a couple classes, rushing home to answer emails and maintain her website, working on songs that she's actively penning and working out with a friend. She doesn't drop off to sleep until after midnight, and wakes up fresh as a daisy to do it all again the next day. While some people (like me) might find that demanding schedule draining and exhausting, Tamika endures because she sees the light at the end of the tunnel. "Am I happy yes, because I know that this is not forever and I will be free in four weeks!"
For Tamika, the transition from stressful-day-job-balancing-act to full-time singer might be scary, but she takes knowledge and perspective from those past work situations. "I think day jobs have put life into perspective for me," she says. The analyst position in particular "was helpful because it helped me to really establish myself as an artist and decide that I didn’t really want to work a corporate job for the rest of my life."
Time will ultimately tell whether leaving the working world behind was a good choice for Tamika. Either way, she's got great perspective on the whole thing. "I think that there comes a time when every artist has to decide to either pursue their dream as a career or leave it alone and treat it as a hobby," she says. "It will be one of the hardest decisions that they will ever have to make. I just made it and I am scared but I am happier already."